COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #5 – Eagle | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #5 – Eagle

By Buddy Beaudoin

COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #5 - Eagle

Writer: Max Landis

Artists: Francis Manapul, John Workman

$3.99

DC Comics

Over the course of this series, Max Landis has made it very apparent that he’s changing just about everything we know about the Man of Steel, and redirecting Superman’s origin story to fit his vision. Now on issue number five out of the slated seven issues, there have been more than a couple of hiccups, but it would appear that Landis has found his stride and, now that we get an actual glimpse of the famed powerset, the title is getting increasingly interesting.

COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #5 - Eagle

Superman: American Alien #5 – Page 7

Keeping to the art direction of the earlier issues, American Alien #5 gets its own artist. This time around, Landis has chosen DC veteran Francis Manapul, and (of course), the book looks beautiful. Manapul’s Superman, dawning a pieced together suit comprised of over-sized goggles, a bullet proof vest complete with the signature “S,” and Batman’s cape – taken from the caped crusader in the previous issue – is fantastic. Manapul has a very specific color palette that is indicative of his art, and that classic Manapul style gives Metropolis new life.

The story picks up significantly, as this is the first issue where we really see Clark becoming Superman and using his powers for good. He’s fighting off small-time criminals, and as he tells Ma Kent, attempting to use his powers to do one good deed a day. All of this seems to go swimmingly for him until Lex Luthor begins his typical business of crafting monsters to test the Kryptonian’s limits. This throwback is a nice touch for this series. It’s atypical of what Landis has been setting up thus far, and gives lifelong fans of Superman some sort of connection with a Superman of a younger generation. This is also the first time in the series that it’s really felt like you’re reading a book about the character.

COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #5 - Eagle

Superman: American Alien #5 – Page 11

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

We get to see the man in the cape pick a firetruck out of the sky and wrestle with a gigantic vampiric slug looking creature, but we also get to see a more Metropolitan side of Clark himself. Working for the Daily Planet, Clark plays the skeptic as Lois begins her usual rants about how wonderful Superman is, and how much he’s going to help the city. Rather than joining her, Clark reminds her that nobody knows anything real about Metropolis’ flying man yet, and that he could just be some crazed vigilante that could end up being more dangerous than he is helpful. This is, again, a nice throwback to Clark of old and his attempts to conceal his secret identity.

While this issue pits Superman against Luthor, and nicely pulls off the other aforementioned throwbacks to the character, it’s not without its troubles. For starters, Lex is mostly well done, but his dialog is troubling. Normally, not the biggest deal, but for a character that talks so much it presents a problem. Lex is the smartest man in the DC Universe, but, when have a diminutive talk with Superman, repeatedly calls him “idiot,” and “moron.” While this gets the point across, it’s also entirely too common and schoolyard for Lex’s character and his supersized vocabulary. Furthermore, Landis has given Lex a lot of say in Superman’s name. In the previous issue, in one of his rants, he references people having an “S” painted on their chest for “special.” In this issue, he tells the yet unnamed superhero that he thought he was a “Superman” right before calling him an idiot. Seeing as how the origin of the “S” has nothing to do with either being special or the character’s name, this is a let down and a detractor from all of the fan nods in this issue.

COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #5 - Eagle

Superman: American Alien #5 – Page 22

Secondly, Lois is positively hormonal for Superman right from the get go. While there’s obviously a long standing tradition of the Lane-Kent love interest, the way that Landis delivers his brand of Lois seems to completely write her off as a strong female character – which she absolutely is. In fact, she’s done essentially nothing in this series yet without asking for Clark’s help.

The issue ends on a high note, revealing that Lex in fact is behind the giant monster of the issue, and that the rivalry between Lex and Superman may take a primary role in the last two issues of the series. For a title that has had so many ups and downs, the promise of seeing Landis’ version of The Man of Steel taking on Lex gives the series a hopeful ray of light.

COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #5 - Eagle

Superman: American Alien #5 – Page 26

“The Best There Is:” There are a lot of tributes to the Superman of old in here – enough for tried and true fans to take an interest in the series – and they’re done well. Francis Manapul’s art is exceptional as always, but his colors really bring this one home. Aside from the story being an above average read, this issue is superb to look at.

The Not Very Nice:” There are times in the series when it feels like Landis has never read a Superman comic, and that is true in some cases here. Clearly, he’s rewriting this origin to fit his vision of what Superman can be, but with so many throwbacks in this issue, those inconsistencies are extraordinarily noticeable and can leave a sour taste in the mouth.

FBI Score: 8 out of 10. For better or worse, Superman: American Alien is not your typical Superman story. Landis fluently shares his millennial vision of the Man of Steel, and brings in a wealth of artistic talent with him in each new installment. This issue stands out as the best so far, putting to rest some of the title’s previous shortcomings.

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebook